Tracking your Company’s Social Media ROI

Social media is an important tool for most businesses, but how many are maximizing the potential that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have to offer? It’s important to look past the number of followers or fans and understand the actions that people are taking. To that end, we wanted to share this great blog from June 22 by The Fearey Group, our PRGN partner based in Seattle, that explores social media ROI – we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

By Audrey Tanberg, The Fearey Group

A common mistake we see from people when planning their social media strategy or campaign is to focus on what are known as vanity metrics. These are metrics that look good, such as the number of followers or likes, but that don’t help the business’ bottom line and have no real ROI. We’ve been in more than one business meeting where a C-Suite executive or social media manager has wanted to put their social media ad budget behind fan or follower growth to hit a certain number. It’s our job to help them understand why that isn’t (usually) the best plan and what would be a better way to hit their goals with some help from social media.

Why the Number of Fans or Followers is Not as Important

Sure, it might look good to see 10,000 or 30,000 fans, but are those people seeing the content that you share? Are they your target audience? Are they taking action that is important to your business?

We have a lot of these stories, but here is one that illustrates the point above. Not too long ago I helped a business whose target demographic was men ages 35 – 60, with a household income of $350,000+ living east of Seattle from Lake Washington to Spokane, WA, with a specific set of interests. However, their Facebook audience was primarily men in their 20s living in the Seattle area and probably not at that income level. This company had a full-time employee creating content for Facebook, receiving little to no engagement and having no idea if or how this was impacting their business.

What to Do?

Check to see if your followers and fans are the people that you need to be marketing to. Are they your target demographic? If not, start targeting the correct people with content that will resonate with them in a way that they want to become your customers, clients, patients or students.

Identify the goals of sharing a social media post. Is it to build brand awareness, sell something, gather new leads? Once you identify your social media goals, set up promoted posts or ads that help you meet those goals and make sure you are targeting the correct people.

Can You Verify It’s Working?

Popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have tracking codes that can be installed on your website to track the actions people take once they arrive from your promoted content. Thus, you’ll know if they are putting stuff in their cart and checking out, starting a wish list, signing up for your newsletter or taking other important actions to measure the ROI of your work.

We once worked with a business who was running a Facebook campaign to gather sign-ups for a service. They had emails, direct mailers, organic Facebook posts, and paid Facebook posts all directing people to the same landing page with no way of knowing where the people who signed up came from. They thought their paid Facebook campaign was doing great because it had tons of clicks. They had put hundreds of dollars into it and reported success to their higher ups with link clicks as their proof of success. We asked if they knew how many people filled in the sign-up form once they got to the landing page from Facebook – they didn’t.

We installed the Facebook tracking pixel to measure the results of their ad and after 10 days of running the campaign and tracking it with the pixel, there was only one sign-up. They had reached almost 5K people and nearly 200 people clicked the link during that time with only one person signing up once they saw the form.

Why was this? Well, their web form was not mobile optimized and over 82% of the people they reached had been from a mobile device. The one sign-up they received was from a desktop visitor. The Facebook ad leading visitors to the landing page had very limited information on it and once people got to the website and read all the details, including the cost, they may have been turned off.

What did we do? We set up a lead generation ad on Facebook instead, which included all the details including the cost and we simplified the form so there were fewer fields to fill out. The results of this were almost 50 leads at a cost-per-lead that was 18% of the cost of the one lead they received from their link click campaign.

TAFT – Test, Analyze, Fix, Test

We like to follow the TAFT system for social media content, especially ads, even though TAFT has absolutely nothing to do with social media. It is a reliability growth analysis testing system to identify problem areas and improve on them when developing new products. Basically, we try something then analyze its performance, identify what could be better (ex. lower cost-per-click, more leads), make some changes (ex. update copy, switch out images, drill down the targeting) and test it again. While we often hit a sweet spot and exceed our goals, social media is ever-changing and there are always new things to try and new hoops to jump through.

Just last week I set up a few audiences on Facebook for a client and reviewed the estimated people that we could reach with ads. Two days later I went into onto Facebook Ad Manager to see if a potential interest was available to add to those audiences and there was an alert saying that some of the targeting I had set up was no longer available.

What are your tips on using social media effectively – do you have any client success stories? Leave a comment below or tweet @LandisComm and @TheFeareyGroup.

This blog was originally posted on The Fearey Group website – see it here.

About The Fearey Group
The Fearey Group is a Seattle public relations and strategic communications firm, specializing in public relations, public affairs, marketing, branding, graphic design, websites, digital and social media. Our people have deep relationships in the Pacific Northwest. We connect people and companies. We drive purchases and grow businesses. We spur action, shape perceptions and build reputations. We are affiliated with 50 offices around the world through our Public Relations Global Network. We’ve purposefully built a firm that clients of all sizes want to work with, and talented, savvy people come from all around to work. And we help advance your career.

Having a focus on Seattle public relations, we’re passionate about the community we live, work and play. And we focus on being the best in our industry. We implement. We measure. We adjust. We hustle. We know how to get it done. And we’ve done it for over 36 years.

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